Seven airlines to seek bailout to surviveSeven Thai airlines are likely to seek a 16-billion-baht bailout from the Finance Ministry so they can pay their employees while their services are suspended. Most international and domestic flights have been suspended in Thailand since last week. Thai AirAsia is still keeping its employees, but has had to cut their wages by up to 30%. This decision came after all international flights were suspended a week earlier. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the industry employs 4.27 million people and contributes 15.5% of Thailand's gross domestic product.
Stadium debacle leaves bad tasteIt's nearly a month since the army-owned Lumpinee boxing stadium emerged as the epicentre of the country's coranavirus epidemic. Yet there are still no apologies from the army or army chief Gen Apirat Kongsompong. More importantly, they put the number of at-risk in connection with the boxing match at 500, urging them to see doctors and get tested. Netizens' frustrations over the boxing match have escalated, asking why the army-run stadium was able to get an exemption from the PM's order. With the country still making little progress in the fight against the virus, Gen Apirat, who is top of the army's hierarchy, should consider showing more responsibility by tendering his resignation.
The sorry plight of the bumblebeeA welcome distraction from the Coronavirus crisis came this week from a most unlikely source. Dedicated Harry Potter fans are no doubt aware that Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts, is named after the 18th century word for bumblebee. He was only five foot two (1.58m) and one of his popular acts was performing the novelty number, The Bee Song. Bee's kneesWe have to thank the bees for the wonderful expression the ''bee's knees", meaning something that is the very best or excellent. There is also a "bee's knees" drink, a prohibition-era cocktail of gin, honey and lemon[a1] , but it did not always live up to its name.
S.African police fire rubber bullets at shoppers during lockdownPolice had to use force to get people to respect the social distancing rulesJOHANNESBURG - South African police fired rubber bullets towards hundreds of shoppers queueing outside a supermarket in Johannesburg as authorities battled to keep people at home in a bid to halt the spread of the coronavirus. Police arrived in 10 patrol vehicles and started firing rubber bullets towards the shoppers. Africa's confirmed cases were Saturday creeping towards 4,000 cases with at least 117 deaths - and governments are scrambling to slow the spread. Zimbabwe starts a three-week lockdown on Monday, while on the same day Lesotho will also go on a 25-day lockdown. The move came as the authorities reported 137 confirmed cases, including four deaths.
Hit list: What's next in line for possible coronavirus postponementShane Lowry is due to defend his British Open title in July, but media reports suggest a postponement could be imminentPARIS - The coronavirus pandemic has decimated the 2020 sporting calendar, with the Tokyo Olympics and football's European Championship the biggest events to be postponed. The Blue Riband of the turf has been held every year since Diomed took the inaugural running in 1780. But American media reports earlier this week said that the tournament in Mamaroneck, New York was likely to be put back until later in the summer. WimbledonScheduled dates: June 29-July 12-- The All England Club will hold an emergency meeting next week to discuss a possible postponement, or even cancellation, of Wimbledon. British OpenScheduled dates: July 16-19-- British media reports on Friday said that the British Open at Royal St George's could be postponed next week.
March 28, 2020 18:00 UTC
Ex-Venezuela general charged with drug trafficking surrenders to USRetired general Cliver Alcala turned himself in to the Colombians, who in turn handed him over to US authorities, the El Tiempo de Bogota newspaper saidBOGOTA - A retired Venezuelan general has turned himself over to Colombian authorities after the United States charged him with drug-trafficking and offered a reward for his capture, local media said on Saturday. Cliver Alcala turned himself in on Friday to the Colombians, who in turn handed him over to US authorities, the El Tiempo de Bogota newspaper said. Washington on Thursday indicted Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and several current and former top government officials for "narco-terrorism" and offered a $15 million reward for information leading to Maduro's capture. Along with Maduro, 14 top Venezuelan officials past and present were charged with drug-trafficking by the US, amongst them Alcala, who was a close collaborator of Maduro's predecessor, the late socialist firebrand Hugo Chavez. The series of indictments against top Venezuelan officials is the latest attempt by President Donald Trump's administration to force Maduro from power.
March 28, 2020 18:00 UTC
A long queue forms in front of the Thai embassy in London on March 20 as Thais seeking to go home seek documents required by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand. (Photo from Facebook@CHARLOTTE2500)A Thai man in Ireland has filed a petition with the Central Administrative Court seeking an order to stop the enforcement of two requirements for Thais flying home. It requires that Thais flying home have a fit-to-fly health certificate and a letter issued by a Thai embassy or consulate certifying they are flying home. In his petition, Mr Arthit claimed the requirements violate the constitutional rights and freedoms of Thais. He has also created the online petition “Thais must be able to go home” at Change.org.
March 28, 2020 13:18 UTC
Spain recorded another 832 coronavirus deaths on Saturday, following the patten of hardest-hit Italy as the epidemic surges through EuropeROME: Europe was reeling from a staggering surge in coronavirus deaths Saturday, still days or weeks from what experts desperately hope will be the epidemic's peak. Variations in testing regimes mean the true number is likely far higher still, and confirmed deaths are mounting. Spain recorded 832 fatalities in 24 hours, bringing its toll to 5,690, second in the world only to Italy, which confirmed a one-day record of 969 on Friday. It came as Italy recorded almost 1,000 deaths from the virus on Friday — the worst one-day toll anywhere since the pandemic began. The World Health Organization's regional director for Africa warned the continent faced a "dramatic evolution" of the pandemic, as South Africa also began life under lockdown and reported its first virus death.
March 28, 2020 12:47 UTC
(Reuters photo)PHNOM PENH: The Cambodian government will impose travel restrictions in order to reduce and contain the transmission of the coronavirus, effective from midnight on Tuesday. The medical certificate requirement in particular was almost impossible to fulfil, resulting in a de facto travel ban. The Cambodian requirements for a medical certificate and insurance do not apply to any foreigner holding a diplomatic visa (Visa A) or official visa (Visa B) for the country, the government added. Upon arrival in Cambodia, all foreigners will be subject to a health risk assessment and screened before they are allowed to enter the country. As of Friday, Cambodia had officially reported 99 cases of Covid-19, with 11 patients recovered and no deaths.
March 28, 2020 11:48 UTC
(Reuters photo)PHUKET: Patong has become a hotbed for coronavirus infections on the resort island as most new cases were found in the area in recent days. Four of the new infections were found in the Patong area, two of them linked to Soi Bang La, and one each in Kata and Karon beaches. "The new confirmed Covid-19 patients in Phuket province include those in connection with entertainment venues in the Soi Bang La area, tambon Patong, Kathu district," it said. Bang La is dubbed by some travel websites as Phuket's version of Patpong due to its bustling nightlife. Most of the confirmed cases in Phuket were related to service businesses such as restaurants and hotels, it added.
March 28, 2020 10:26 UTC
Arrival in Guangzhou: Monitoring and controlsAfter our plane touched down in Guangzhou airport, we were instructed to remain seated. March 20: Arrival in Shenzhen -- 'Hotel Quarantine'Eerie silence marked the two-hour bus ride to Shenzhen. At the hotel, staff disinfected my luggage and instructed me to disinfect my hands, put on latex gloves, and choose a room key. I had lost track of how many times I had my temperature taken, how many forms I had filled out. Meals are brought to my door three times a day, at 8am, noon and 6pm, by PPE-clad hotel staff.
March 28, 2020 10:07 UTC
(Reuters Photo)NEW DELHI: At least 15,000 people who may have caught the coronavirus from a “super-spreader” guru are under strict quarantine in northern India after the Sikh religious leader died of Covid-19. Baldev Singh, 70, had returned from a trip to virus-plagued Italy and Germany when he went preaching in more than a dozen villages in Punjab state. “The first of these 15 villages was sealed on March 18, and we think there are 15,000 to 20,000 people in the sealed villages,” said Gaurav Jain, a senior magistrate for the district of Banga, where Singh lived. Nineteen people who were in contact with the preacher have already tested positive for the new virus, said Vinay Bublani, a local deputy police commissioner. A similar alert has been declared in the town of Bhilwara in Rajasthan state after there were two deaths out of 19 virus cases.
March 28, 2020 09:33 UTC
Bob Dylan performs at the Firefly Music Festival in Dover, Delaware in June 2017. (Reuters Photo)Bob Dylan has surprised and baffled the music world by releasing his first original song in eight years, a mysterious 17-minute meditation on the assassination of John F Kennedy. Stay safe, stay observant, and may God be with you,” Dylan posted on his website, along with a portrait of Kennedy, who was slain in 1963 while riding in a motorcade through Dallas. Murder Most Foul is also the first song Dylan has penned and released since he reluctantly accepted the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature, the first songwriter awarded the honour. Dylan, regarded as one of America’s most influential singer-songwriters, has shunned publicity for decades but still performs regularly at small venues around the world.
March 28, 2020 08:37 UTC
(Photo by Chinnawat Singha)The Public Health Ministry on Saturday reported 109 new coronavirus cases and one death, bringing the total to 1,245 cases and six fatalities. Taweesin Wisanuyothin, the spokesman for the Covid-19 Administration Centre, said the country had 109 new cases. The latest figures brought the total cases to 1,245 in 57 provinces, he said, adding that 1,032 patients were Thais. The death of a 55-year-old diabetic woman was reported on Saturday, bringing the total fatalities to six, said Dr Taweesin, who is also the spokesman for the Public Health Ministry. With 515 cases, Bangkok led the infections, followed by Nonthaburi (58) and Phuket (42).
March 28, 2020 07:11 UTC
Friday crowds lead to closures, people forced to use online channels to register for benefitsPeople queue to open accounts at a Government Savings Bank branch on Friday. Commercial banks that made the announcements as of Saturday morning are Bangkok Bank, Kasikornbank, Siam Commercial Bank, Bank of Ayudhya, TMB Bank, Thanachart Bank, UOB, Kiatnakin, LH Bank and CIMB Thai. They were the Government Savings Bank (GSB), Krungthai Bank and the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives. The banks decided to close their branches after long queues formed at some state banks on Friday. People with no bank accounts are advised to open one online with most banks and then use the bank account numbers to register.
March 28, 2020 05:56 UTC